by Kris Tualla, guest blogger
Back in February I was loading in books for selling and signing at the Glendale (Arizona) Chocolate Affaire—an annual celebration of chocolate and romance attended by nearly 30,000 people over three days—when I passed a woman that I knew I knew, but couldn’t place. As I returned with my second load to the book-signing booth, I resolved to say something to her if I saw her again.
Turns out she was volunteering in the wine and beer tent right next to the romance book tent. As I walked up to their counter she turned around and shouted, “Kris!”
The minute I saw her nametag, everything clicked.
Turns out she works with the Glendale Ambassadors, a civic organization that supports various city programs, and when we passed each other she noticed the Norwegian flag embroidered on my author shirt. Why is that significant? Because Glendale was in the process of reinstating their decades-gone “Sister City” program, and the very first city they chose was…
Ørland. In Norway.
I was dumbfounded. Of all the countries, in all the world, they chose Norway—the homeland of my fictional Hansen family (23 books and counting). And because this woman saw the flag on my shirt and remembered me, she was super excited to tell me about it.
I joined the Glendale Ambassadors at their next meeting.
When I first toured southern Norway in the summer of 2011, less than a year after publishing my first Hansen novel, I fell in love with the country and people. I was able to return to northern (arctic) Norway in February of 2015 to see the Northern Lights: #1 on my Bucket List and they did not disappoint. The many stories I heard while on these two trips eventually became “Enemies & Traitors”—the first book in my most recent trilogy, The Norsemen’s War. This trilogy takes place during World War II and this book is set entirely in Norway.
I’m returning to Norway for the third time in July and can’t wait to see what story ideas might pop up on this next adventure. And because of my friendship with the tour guide who lives in Oslo, and the tour manager in Phoenix who put these tours together, I’m now working on a “Sister Cities” tour on behalf of Glendale for the fall of 2018. Score!
As an author of historical romantic “outlier” books (neither Scottish nor Regency) with Norwegian characters (who are not Vikings) any opportunity to expand my brand recognition is wonderful. But it’s because of my brand that all of this happened. I’ve even been asked to do a reading from the WWII books as a fund-raiser for the Ambassadors!
Norway is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been. I can’t wait to go back, and am excited to share that country’s jaw-dropping beauty with a bunch of new people.
Hey—anyone want to come with us?
Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense, has created a dynasty with The Hansen Series. An active member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime, she was also a guest instructor at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She often asked to speak about her journey – and her Norsemen. The Hansen Series Books are available on Amazon in paperback and ebook, and are bundled as trilogies for reader convenience.